To get her flippers wet in the waters of Mystic Aquarium, a young seal first had to fly out from Alaska. On Thursday, the Mystic Aquarium announced in a news release that a northern fur seal has found a permanent home in the facility. However, she is not yet viewable to guests, according to ID public relations agent Taryn Briskin.
The one-year-old seal’s name, Kayok, means golden in the Inuit language. The aquarium chose her name to celebrate its golden jubilee (or 50th anniversary) and to honor the Inuit people (Indigenous people who are native to Canada).
This is not the first animal in the aquarium to have taken its name from the Inuit language; it has a Beluga whale named Kela, short for Kelalukak, which means leader, according to its Facebook page. The seal was found “swimming erratically” and “struggling to forage” in the waters of Sitka, Alaska. The then-five-month-old seal was underweight, weighing 6.3 kilograms and 65 centimeters, when a healthy weight for the seal would have been closer to 15 kilograms and 85 centimeters, according to the news release.
After her rescue, she was placed at the Alaska SeaLife Center (ASLC) for rehabilitation. According to its website, the center has an aquarium and focuses on marine mammal rehabilitation. Due to her condition, the seal was deemed unable to be released by the National Marine Fisheries Services, a part of the United States government that aims to assist in the conservation and management of marine mammals, according to its website.
“During Kayok’s time at the ASLC, she initially gained weight indoors, which was a positive step. However, to assess her readiness for release, a trial period was initiated in the outdoor pool to determine if she could maintain or further gain weight. Unfortunately, after several weeks, it became evident that she was unable to do so,” a news release from Mystic Aquarium stated.
To get Kayok to Mystic Aquarium, she had to be flown on a cargo plane on Sept. 2 with veterinarian supervision.
“During this crucial period, she received attentive hand-feeding, ensuring she was consuming sustenance and underwent physical examinations and blood work to assess her health,” the news release stated.
This is not the first rescued seal to find a home at the aquarium this year. Echo, a gray seal with a heart condition, joined the aquarium in February.
Source: CT Insider